Join others from the Dioceses of Westminster and Southwark for an online meeting to plan and discuss a Central London Catholic contribution to London Climate Action Week (26th June – 4th July) and the Season of Creation (1st September – 4th October) as we build up to the critical UN climate conference, COP26, in Glasgow (1st – 12th November 2021)
Art? Crafts? Drama? Prayer? Workshops? Walks? Speakers? Conferences? Liturgy? What do we need to do to demonstrate our care and concern for people and planet that promotes climate ambition on the part of the UK government and other world leaders? Come and help us do our bit to save the planet this summer.
‘Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.’
Participants at the Care of Creation Monday Lunchtime Briefings for London and the South East, convened by Westminster Justice & Peace Co-ordinator, Colette Joyce, joined the Cathedral prayer vigil by Zoom as part of their regular meeting on Monday 12th April 2021.
Catholics For Christian Climate Action held prayer protests outside Westminster and Cardiff cathedrals asking for stronger leadership on climate crisis from Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales as they prepare for Spring Plenary Meeting.
They were praying for the Catholic Church to take a more active lead in speaking out and demonstrating the urgency with which the UK needs to act on the climate and ecological emergency ahead of COP26.
There is growing evidence that the IPCC carbon neutral target of 2050 is too late to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees, above which there will be dire consequences and terrible and widespread suffering.
Those taking part in today’s actions were seeking an immediate commitment by Church organisations to divest from fossil fuels and funders of fossil fuel projects, with a plan to do so by the end of 2022, as well as advocacy for a national commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2030. They were also asking the Church to advocate for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, which now has the support of 106 Members of Parliament, as a measure that would ensure that the UK contributes fairly to climate mitigation consistent with limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C. Participants took the opportunity to pray in thanks for the positive actions that have already been taken by the Bishops Conference and some Diocese, religious orders and other Catholic organisations as a foundation upon which to build.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster was not in central London at that time of the protest but said: “I assure you that every bishop in England and Wales is fully aware of the issues to which you are drawing attention and have been addressing them, in various ways, for some time.”
Melanie Nazareth, mother of four and a member of Catholics for Christian Climate Action, said: “The only way to avoid even more dangerous warming is for countries to stop emitting CO2 and the need for action grows ever more urgent and ever more difficult. I want our Catholic leaders in this country to speak out more about what the UK must do to protect our brothers and sisters in more vulnerable parts of the world. This is a time of Kairos, the time of choosing for the world and for us. The voices of our Church leaders could make a huge difference.”
Columban sister Kate Midgley said: “I am praying outside Westminster Cathedral because there are some things that need to be shouted from the housetops! We are in a climate and ecological emergency. As Christians, as Catholics, we believe that the whole earth is a miracle of God’s creation and that is being held in being in every moment by God. We of all people need to be at the forefront of calling for the protection of our earth. So, I am praying that our bishops will be inspired.”
Colette Joyce commented, “We add our voices in support of Catholics for Christian Climate Action and commend the work of the Bishops in helping the Church to take urgent action in the face of the current climate emergency. We call on them to support every parish community to adopt best practice with regard to environmental care in the coming years.”
Activists from Justice & Peace, CAFOD, the Laudato Si’ Animators, religious orders and other organisations from the five Dioceses of Arundel & Brighton, Brentwood, Portsmouth, Southwark and Westminster (and a few from elsewhere!) meet every Monday 1.00-1.45pm for mutual prayer, information sharing, discussion, action-planning and encouragement on climate and environmental issues. Everyone is welcome to join us or to sign up for the weekly Care of Creation newsletter.
For more details call Colette Joyce 07593 434 905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Catholics for Christian Climate Action are the Catholics within Christian Climate Action, a community of Christians supporting each other to take meaningful action in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate breakdown. Inspired by Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit and following the example of social justice movements of the past, they engage in acts of public witness, nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to urge those in power to make the changes needed.
This month’s E-Bulletin includes details of the next Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum on Saturday 22nd May, which will focus on issues of work and unemployment facing us as we begin to emerge, we hope, from pandemic and lockdown. It is especially apt that we contemplate a Catholic Vision of Work during this year dedicated to St Joseph, patron saint of workers.
The Diocese of Westminster is working with local authorities to help reassure people about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
Covid-19 has raised issues of justice and health inequality in our communities and the Diocese is keen to help parishes address these. As such they are planning a webinar to encourage greater vaccine confidence, especially among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity (BAME) communities, through a Webinar on Saturday, 27th March 2021, 10.00 – 11.30am.
The steering group to promote Covid-19 vaccine confidence consists of medical professionals and Catholic clergy from BAME communities who have come together with the aim to share information around health and wellbeing in the context of Covid-19 and vaccines. Bishop Paul McAleenan has written to the Ethnic Chaplaincies, Deans, and to all parish priests, and the communication has been sent out to schools. Caritas Westminster and Westminster Justice and Peace are also involved.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused dramatic changes in our lives, yet we know that it does not affect people equally. Although most people with the infection might experience only mild illness, some may become very unwell and sadly others may die from it. We know that death rates from Covid-19 are higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups. To put this into context, the death rates for Covid-19 in black people are four times that of Caucasians, and Asian people are three times more likely to die than their Caucasian counterparts.
With cases of coronavirus surging, there is need for action to protect ourselves from contracting and spreading the virus. Vaccines are one of the most promising interventions to control infections. We understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated with the new COVID-19 vaccines. The Webinar will help tackle the reasons for hesitancy and build understanding, trust and engagement.
Vaccine Confidence Webinar: Saturday, March 27th 2021, 10.00-11:30am
The Rt Hon Lord Deben (John Selwyn Gummer), chair of the UK’s committee on climate change, told an online gathering this week that Catholics must take climate change more seriously, following the inspirational lead of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ and in the context of November’s UN Climate talks in Glasgow, scheduled for 1-12 November.
His talk, ‘Climate Change: The Gospel Imperative’, was organised by the Catholic Union on 23 March. “The Church has got it right on this” he said, “and I am missionary about it.” He told participants he used Laudato Si’ insights even when talking to secular audiences and that they were very appreciative. “Pope Francis has brought us back to the Gospel imperatives, particularly to help those less fortunate,” he said.
“Catholics must be clear”, he said, that “action on climate change is part of Catholic Social Teaching” and “this battle is for all of us.” He urged Catholics to bring the issue “into our prayers and our liturgy,” and preach the gospel “in a way that is relevant”.
He felt young people understand our duty to the environment, and we must support their desire not to inherit a world that is impoverished. “All stewards hand back something better and that is our duty” he said, “our duty as Catholics too.”
Lord Deben urged participants to remember that, “climate change makes extreme weather and pandemics more likely.”
Church leaders across seven denominations have issued a statement following the publication of the UK Government’s integrated review of foreign and defence policies.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference Chair of the International Affairs Department, Bishop Declan Lang, and the Lead Bishop on Peace and Disarmament Issues, Bishop William Kenney, have signed the statement.
The full text follows
“The Government’s decision in the integrated review of defence, security and foreign policy to increase the number of Trident nuclear warheads the UK can stockpile by more than 40 percent is a retrograde step that will not make any of us safer.
“Our Trident submarines already carry warheads that in total have an explosive yield equivalent to hundreds of the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima. It is immoral that the UK government is committing resources, which could be spent on the common good of our society, to stockpiling even more.
“Over the last 50 years, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has restricted the increase in the number of nuclear weapons worldwide as well as the number of new nuclear-armed states. This announcement puts those gains in jeopardy and weakens collective action on non-proliferation.
“Progress on reducing the threat from nuclear weapons will come through dialogue, diplomacy and principled action. The Government’s announcement today will complicate rather than aid this process.
“The entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition in of Nuclear Weapons is an encouraging development. As people of faith, we join with millions across the world who are working towards the elimination of nuclear arsenals.
“Living up to our responsibilities under the Non Proliferation Treaty would be a step towards realising that vision. We believe that ‘Global Britain’ should strive for peaceful and cooperative international relationships, and joint endeavour on climate change, global poverty and other challenges. This announcement takes us in a worrying and wholly wrong direction.”
The following Christian leaders signed the statement:
Most Revd and Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell Archbishop of York
Most Revd John Davies Archbishop of Wales
Revd Clare Downing Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church
Bob Fyffe General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
Bishop William Kenney Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham International Affairs Department, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop Declan Lang Bishop of Clifton, Chair, International Affairs Department Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Carolyn Lawrence Vice-President of the Methodist Church
Revd David Mayne Moderator of the Baptist Union Council
Paul Parker Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
Revd Dr Joanna Penberthy Bishop of St Davids
Revd Richard Teal President of the Methodist Church
ondon Churches Refugee Fund and Church Times present an evening in support of refugees. With keynote speaker Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, actor Alfred Enoch, and representatives from LCRF and Migrants Organise.
Register below for a free ticket. The event will be broadcast live online on Thursday 25 March.
Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, keynote speaker Dominican friar, writer & former Master of the Order of Preachers
Zrinka Bralo CEO Migrants Organise (organising with refugees for power, dignity & justice)
Revd Dr Andrew Prasad Moderator Thames North Synod URC; former Executive Secretary Council for World Mission; LCRF Patron
Alfred Enoch Actor (Harry Potter, Red, How To Get Away With Murder) & Patron of London Churches Refugee Fund
Revd Chris Brice Chair of London Churches Refugee Fund
As a Diocese, we celebrated the award with an Online Celebration & Social on Friday 5th March, 11am, during Fairtrade Fortnight 2021. About 60 people from parishes around the Diocese gathered on Zoom to watch a video recorded by Cardinal Vincent Nichols to mark the occasion, with guest speakers congratulating all those involved, as well as encouraging those Parishes not yet signed up to complete the Award.
Bishop Nicholas Hudson, lead bishop for Justice & Peace, opened the gathering in prayer and offered his own congratulations to everyone involved, thanking CAFOD Westminster, Caritas Westminster and Justice & Peace Westminster for their collaboration in promoting Fairtrade principles and arranging the celebration.
In his message, Cardinal Vincent Nichols congratulated the 108 Westminster Parishes that have committed to Fairtrade principles and announced that Westminster RC Diocese is now the first Fairtrade Diocese in the Country. The Cardinal also invited the remaining parishes in the Diocese to seek to become Fairtrade Parishes. This commitment requires a parish to offer Fairtrade coffee and tea when served at Parish meetings and to promote Fairtrade at least once a year in the parish. For information on how to apply visit the CAFOD website: https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Fairtrade
Everyone brought along a Fairtrade product to show in a screenshot photograph to be shared in the media afterwards and we all enjoyed spotting the many different types of Fairtrade items on display…
We were reminded that, with the end of lockdown in sight, now is the perfect time for parishes to check their tea, coffee, sugar and biscuit supplies and stock-up with Fairtrade goodies in preparation for permission to serve refreshments after Mass resuming on 12th April!
Invited speakers included Adam Gardner who has worked for The Fairtrade Foundation for more than a decade. He said, “Speaking to Barbara Kentish (former J & P Co-ordinator) and Maria Elena Arana (CAFOD) and others over the years, I’ve got just a sense of how much hard work and dedication, events, conversation, discussion and prayer, too, has gone on by so many across the Parishes and at the Diocese level so massive congratulations! There is an African proverb that says, ‘If you want to fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ This has been a true team effort and truly about going far.”
Fr Joe Ryan, former Chair of the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission, described his own wake-up call forty years ago as to where his tea and coffee came from and the origins of the decision to become a Fairtrade Diocese. Every purchase we make here can have a huge impact on others who are producing goods many miles away overseas. “Even a little can mean a lot.”
Anne Lamont, a parishioner at St John Vianney’s and volunteer in the Justice & Peace Office, told how Fairtrade had become an integral part of the Confirmation programme, which has helped to embed Fairtrade thinking and activity in the Parish. Young people in the Confirmation group hold an annual Big Brew Weekend with stalls, a raffle and Fairtrade teas, coffees and cakes which they make themselves.
Hilda McCafferty from Our Lady of Fatima, White City, in West London, reminded the meeting of the importance of Fairtrade and sustainability in the fashion industry, which was illustrated in her parish by a Fairtrade Fashion Show, also run by the Confirmation Group.
Among the other parishes in attendance were: St Bede’s – Croxley Green, Our Lady of Lourdes – Acton, St Joseph’s – Bunhill Row, St Marks – Hemel West, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory – Warwick Street, Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrew – Hitchin, and St Edmund’s – Edmonton.
St Mary’s, Hampstead, was represented by Santana Luis who writes, “Thank you for organising the Fairtrade presentation event and asking me to speak on my journey with the Fairtrade movement for the last fifteen years. It has been a great achievement for our Diocese and a wonderful celebration to be part of the World’s largest Fairtrade city. We are now leading an example for other boroughs, parishes, deaneries, dioceses and other faith communities in the UK to be part of the Fairtrade movement, especially as this year’s themes are focusing on sustainability, circular economy, climate crisis and meeting the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).”
Tony Sheen from CAFOD thanked everyone for their participation, including Parishes who have demonstrated their commitment to Fairtrade as part of the Live Simply Award. He encouraged Parishes who have not yet started this journey to consider signing up. The Award requires us to look at our lifestyles as individuals and as Parish communities, seeking to live more simply, sustainably and in solidarity with those living in poverty. Find out more: https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Livesimply-award
Finally, the meeting was closed in prayer by the current Chair of Westminster Justice & Peace, Fr Dominic Robinson SJ.
All are welcome to join the Diocesan Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, Colette Joyce, at these informal chats for North London and Hertfordshire Catholics (and our friends) to share, discuss and discern priorities for 2021 on subjects such as responding to the pandemic, the climate crisis, racial justice, homelessness, the nuclear weapons ban, Fairtrade and much more…
First time participants, seasoned campaigners, parishioners, religious, deacons & priests welcome.
The Central London group has scheduled a follow-on meeting specifically to discuss ideas for a Catholic Climate Festival in September 2021, the Season of Creation, when many other groups are arranging festivals under the auspices of The Climate Coalition as part of the run-up to the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, 1-12 November 2021. Everyone is welcome to attend this initial meeting who lives within travelling distance of the Westminster Cathedral/Houses of Parliament area and is interested in getting involved. Facilitated by Colette Joyce and John Woodhouse from Laudato Si’ Animators, UK.